Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order – Marvellous Masterpiece or Boring Button-Masher?

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One game that I used to play the crap out of during my childhood was Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. A loose adaptation of the Civil War comic story-line, it was a top-down action-RPG/beat ’em up featuring a tonne of famous and not so famous heroes and villains from across the Marvel universe, enjoyable and addictive gameplay, cool character interactions, and some great replayability that had me coming back again and again, just so I could keep making all manner of different teams to play through the game as.

That game came out ten years ago and it very much seemed like a series that wasn’t going to get revived any time soon, especially with Disney now holding Marvel’s reigns. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a new, third title get announced out of nowhere. And if that wasn’t enough, Activision and Vicarious Visions were out and Nintendo and Team Ninja were in. Suddenly, everybody was getting excited to see how this game would turn out. Aside from those big names, the roster looked great (the presence of the X-Men alone helped tremendously) and the presentation was delightfully stylish, but does the game have the substance to match it, or should this series have been left back in the late 2000s? Continue reading

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Steins;Gate 0 – No, Seriously, Don’t Invent Time Travel

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Steins;Gate

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When I finished playing Steins;Gate back in 2015, I found myself in that state of mind where, even though everything was neatly wrapped up, I was hungry for more from its world and characters. Even if it was an entire story just about the characters living their lives, I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye yet. Fortunately, there was an anime adaptation to throw myself into and a movie that acted as an epilogue of sorts (both of which I loved). But then I found out that a full-on sequel was coming to Japan very soon and would be out in the West the following year… and I had no interest in playing it.

“But you just said you wanted more Steins;Gate!” you cry. True, but Steins;Gate 0 isn’t a sequel in the traditional sense, instead continuing the story in an alternate “bad” timeline. Considering how much I loved the first game’s ending, I was worried that the sequel could potentially undo how perfect it was. Plus, I didn’t want to see more bad things happen to the characters after they got their happy endings, so I skipped it.

Cut to 2018 and the anime adaptation began to air on Crunchyroll. I had an account at the time and when the first episode went up, I thought “Eh, why not? I’ll give it a shot.” And sure enough, I got completely sucked in. I’m not sure what it was but it did enough to make me see it through to the end, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But even I could tell that certain elements had been changed or removed in order to fit the narrative in an anime format (I even saw some comments complaining about how certain scenes were cut). Curious, I decided to play the game myself and go through the full unaltered experience of Steins;Gate 0 myself. Continue reading

Team Sonic Racing – Does Teamwork Make the Dream Work?

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Back when Team Sonic Racing was first teased with an incredibly vague and short trailer, I wasn’t exactly impressed or excited. At the time, Sonic Forces had left me rather bitter about how Sega was handling the series, and I didn’t think they had earned enough goodwill to only hint at a new title and expect me to be invested. However, as time passed and more info was revealed, I was eventually coaxed back like a badger out of its sett. The fact that Sega had brought Sumo Digital on board to develop it was the primary reason since I really enjoyed their last two Sega-themed racing games, especially Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed.

But there was still some scepticism, and I wasn’t the only one. The focus was entirely on Sonic and friends this time and, rather than do what every other mascot kart racer did and just copy and paste Mario Kart, Sumo Digital were doing something very different and making a racing game where players would race in teams and have to work together in order to win. It was certainly a unique premise, but after being consistently disappointed by so many Sonic games over the last few years, there was this constant fear that I was setting myself up to be let down again.

So is Team Sonic Racing a worthy Mario Kart alternative? Is it even as good as Sumo Digital’s previous work? Or is it just a gimmicky failure? Continue reading

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu – An Amazing Adaptation or Shockingly Bad?

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When children hear the words “live-action Pokémon movie,” they get excited. When adults hear those words, however, they inwardly cringe. Live-action adaptations of videogames and animated properties both share notorious reputations for being pretty much always bad, so you can’t blame most of us, upon hearing that Hollywood were going to give Nintendo’s most prolific RPG series the same treatment, to place our faces in our hands and groan.

But then that very first trailer dropped and, suddenly, people started to say “Actually, this looks pretty good.” Early impressions indicated that Pokémon: Detective Pikachu would avoid every pitfall that other movies of its ilk had fallen into. Fans’ expectations went from nil to a hundred, but were we right to trust those trailers? Is it even a good adaptation of the game it’s based on? Is it something only the purest of Pokémon fans can enjoy? Continue reading

Nier: Automata – My First Yoko Taro Game

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“Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle…and wonder if we’ll ever get the chance to kill him.”

These are the first lines of dialogue you hear in Nier: Automata, and if this doesn’t immediately tell you what kind of game you’re about to experience, then you are in for one hell of a trip; one that could only have come from a director like Yoko Taro. Anyone familiar with his work kind of had an idea for what to expect but for a newcomer like myself, no amount of research into his previous games could prepare me for what this one had in store. I thought I knew after listening to those opening lines, but that was, appropriately and obviously, only the beginning. First, though, let’s get some backstory out of the way. Continue reading

The Greatest Showman – Fitting Title or Mediocre Musical?

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I very rarely want to watch the same movies that my mum does (I still haven’t forgiven her for making me watch The Tourist, which was GARBAGE in case you were wondering), but I made an exception when she wanted to show me her new favourite movie, The Greatest Showman. Part of it was out of politeness but there was another reason, and it wasn’t necessarily because she absolutely loved the movie. It was the fact that she absolutely loved it but so many others hated it. Not disliked, hated. What kind of movie could generate two wildly different opinions of it? I had to see it for myself to find out.

So is The Greatest Showman a cinematic marvel that deserved all of the Oscars? Is it a raging dumpster fire and offensive to the very senses? Or is it kind of mediocre and everyone’s just overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing? Continue reading

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – The Best Crossover No One Wanted

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I remember when this game was first leaked. So many people refused to believe it was even remotely true. A strategy-RPG crossover game starring Nintendo’s beloved Super Mario and Ubisoft’s iconic Raving Rabbids? Admittedly, it did sound so ludicrous that it just had to be fake but cut to E3 2017 and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was officially announced. It was all real. But what was even more surprising was that it looked really good.

The Rabbids’ name had certainly got a bit of a bad rap over the years due to many finding them obnoxious and annoying (before the Minions came along and managed to somehow be worse), but even some of the loudest dissenters couldn’t help but admit to being intrigued by this bizarre union between Nintendo and Ubisoft.

The game went on to become the best selling title on the Switch that wasn’t published by Nintendo and, as of September 2018, has sold over 2 million copies. This surprise smash hit won a lot of peoples’ hearts and I’ve been meaning to write up a review of it since the DLC came out last year. So let’s not waste any more time and dive right into the wonderfully, weird world of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Continue reading

Kingdom Hearts III – The End of an Era

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There was a time when Kingdom Hearts III was a punchline. Nothing more than vaporware; something that only existed as fan-fictions and fake box arts. It was synonymous with hell freezing over. And right now, the Devil himself is neck deep in snow. Even after it was announced back in 2013, it still didn’t feel real. But as the years went on, as we slowly saw more trailers and heard new details, myself and many others realised that this was, in fact, happening.

And now it’s out. You can go and buy Kingdom Hearts III and actually play it. But now that it exists, we must ask that dreaded question – was it worth the wait? This is a title that fans have been waiting for since 2005 when Kingdom Hearts II released, and acts as the finale to a story-line that’s been ongoing since the first game came out in 2002. Fans’ expectations have been ridiculously high so does it meet them? Is it the conclusion longtime fans deserved or is about as fun as going to an overcrowded Disneyland in the rain? Continue reading

Legend of the Three Caballeros – A Poor Man’s DuckTales or An Awesome Alternative?

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Anyone remember Disney’s The Three Caballeros? Released in 1944, it was an anthology of shorts that were linked by an overarching plot involving Donald Duck receiving birthday presents from his Latin-American friends, José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles. I’ve never watched it myself and, from what I understand, it’s not exactly up there in terms of recognisability; it’s biggest contribution simply being the introductions of those aforementioned two characters.

Why am I bringing this up? Because last year, somebody within the company decided they wanted a new animated series based on this movie that would be all about the titular characters travelling the world and encountering various mythological figures and monsters while trying to stop an evil sorcerer from coming back to life… and then make it only available in the Philippines. Yeah, I’m still confused about that last bit. It’s almost as weird as me waiting over half a year to actually write about it when it’s no longer relevant or topical (things kept getting in the way, leave me alone). Continue reading

Batman Ninja – Indescribable Insanity

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Where do I even begin trying to describe Batman Ninja? Usually after watching a film, I have a pretty solid idea of whether I liked it or not. We all have an immediate, gut feeling after we’ve absorbed a piece of media that we can easily share with others when they ask the obvious question – “How was it?” But Batman Ninja? Words fail me. Not because it’s so good or so bad, but because I have no idea how I feel about it.

I guess I’ll start with the usual info. Made in Japan and released last year, Batman Ninja is an animated film that sees Batman, alongside his many allies and enemies, accidentally travelling back in time to Feudal Japan, where he must learn the ways of the samurai to free the country from the tyrannical grip of his most dangerous enemies. You’d probably think “Well, this doesn’t sound too bad.” But trust me, this synopsis does not accurately sum up this film. Continue reading